Trade union members and strikes
Updated: 26 May 2023
Next update: 14 May 2024
About the statistics
The statistics show the number of trade union members, members in employers’ associations and work stoppages (strikes and lockouts). It is based on voluntary reporting from the trade unions and the employers’ associations.
Employers' Associations are understood as associations that assist their members in wage agreements and wage negotiations. Organizations that limit their activities to questions of a purely professional nature are not included in the statistics.
Trade union organizations.
Nation-wide associations for wage earners that assist their members in wage agreements and wage negotiations. Organizations that limit their activities to questions of a purely professional nature are not included in the statistics. The number of members of nation-wide associations for wage earners includes all registered members and includes non-working students, pensioners etc.
Employees in the employers' associations enterprises.
The number of employees in the enterprises includes all employees regardless when during the year they are employed.
Members of trade union organizations.
The number of members of nation-wide associations for wage earners includes all registered members and includes non-working students, pensioners etc. at the end of the year.
The statistics on labour disputes or work stoppages of at least one day's duration per year is computed from the number of trade union federations or confederations that have had groups of employees involved in a work stoppage. Strikes that are discontinued and later resumed for the same reason count as one strike unless the interruption lasts more than two months. A dispute resumed after more than two months counts as a new strike. A dispute that occurs one year and continues in the next is included in both years, i.e. it is counted as two strikes. There are two types of work stoppages, strike or lock-out. A work stoppage defines as a temporary work stoppage by a group of employees (strike) or one or several employers (lock-out) to force a demand. The following types of strikes are covered: legal strikes, illegal strikes, sympathy strikes, political or protest strikes, general strikes, work stoppages started by employees and rotating strikes. A Lockout is the employer's response to strikes. A lockout implies that workers are excluded from work until the parties have agreed on how to resolve the discrepancy.
Numbers of wage earners who are involved in work stoppages means permanent employees, temporary employees, seasonal workers and part-time employees. A part-time employee is counted as full-time employee. Employees there are absent from work owing to illness or are on sick-leave and unpaid family members are not included in the statistics.
The duration of a conflict is measured by the number of lost working days. Taking into account that not all strikers would have been at work every day of the week during the conflict, the number of lost working days is multiplied by 5/7. This is considered to give a better estimate of lost working days, because not all strike days is counted as lost working days. Prior to 2018, this correction was not applied, and the number of assumed working days per week for the relevant group in the conflict was used to calculate lost working days, without further corrections.
Name: Trade union members and strikes
Topic: Labour market and earnings
Division for Labour Market and Wage Statistics
Figures are given on a national level.
Annual. The figures are normally released 20 weeks after the end of the year.
Figures from the statistics are reported to The International Labour Organization (ILO).
Collected and revised data are stored securely by Statistics Norway in compliance with applicable legislation on data processing.
Statistics Norway can grant access to the source data (de-identified or anonymised microdata) on which the statistics are based, for researchers and public authorities for the purposes of preparing statistical results and analyses. Access can be granted upon application and subject to conditions. Refer to the details about this at Access to data from Statistics Norway.
The purpose of the statistics is to provide an overview of (1) the size of the population organized in a trade union, and (2) the number of enterprises organised in employers' associations and those bound by wage agreement and the respectiv number of employees in these enterprises. Statistics Norway have since 1977 produced annual statistics on members of employer's and trade union organizations.
With regard to work stoppages, the purpose is to provide an overview of the numbers of work stoppages, working days lost and the number of members who are involved in work stoppages. Statistics Norway have since 1922, except for the years 1940-1944, produced annually statistics of work stoppages.
Major users are research institutions and the media.
The statistics are developed, produced and disseminated pursuant to Act no. 32 of 21 June 2019 relating to official statistics and Statistics Norway (the Statistics Act).
The statistics are part of the national program for official statistics, main area Labour and wages, sub-area work environment, sickness absence and work stoppages.
Its a voluntary survey.
The enterprise population is defined by The Central Register of Establishments and Enterprises and includes all enterprised under the industrial groups "Activities of business and employers membership organizations"(SN94.110) and "Activities of trade unions" (SN94.200), see Standard Industrial Classification, SIC2007.
The association population cover employers' and national associations for wage earners that assist their members in wage agreements and wage negotiations as well as the main associations to which the individual organizations belong. Organizations that limit their activities to questions of a purely professional nature are not included in the statistics.
The statistics on work stoppages cover industrial disputes, or work stoppages that are affected by employees or one or several employers. A work stoppage defines as a temporary work stoppage consciously put into action by a group of employees (strike) or one or several employers (lock-out) to force a claim.
It is the membership organizations and trade unions that report information about their members and work stoppages in which their members have been involved. The confederations reports information on behalf of their member organizations.
The population is established using the industrial classification in The Central Register of Establishments and Enterprises.
The population includes a census of all organizations. Statistics Norway sends a questionnair to all employers' and labor organizations that help their members with tariff agreements and wage negotiations as well as the main associations to which individual organizations belong.
The statistics is questionnaire based and collected on voluntary basis as per 31 December of the year the statistics applies. Statistics Norway send the questionnaire to all organisations thats included in the populasjon. The data is sent to Statistics Norway electronically via Altinn.
Editing is defined here as checking, examining and amending data.
Manual checks are made to ensure consistency of the data material over time. In case of doubt about the quality of the information collected, the concerned organisations are contacted to clarify any uncertainties. In addition, the statistics is checked using information about labour conflicts that the state mediator has registered and mediated.
Due to uncertainty related to the figures on lost working days, these are rounded by industry. The rounded subtotals are summed up to a total for all industries. Figures below 100 are rounded to the nearest 5. Figures between 100 and 10 000 are rounded to the nearest 10 and figures above 10 000 are rounded to the nearest 100.
Interviewers and everyone who works at Statistics Norway have a duty of confidentiality. Statistics Norway has its own data protection officer.
Statistics Norway does not publish figures where there is a risk of identifying individual data about persons.
The ‘rounding up/down’ method is used in these statistics to ensure this.
More information can be found on Statistics Norway’s website under Methods in official statistics, in the ‘Confidentiality’ section.
The statistics are based on a census, thereby avoiding uncertainty associated with sample variance and non-response associated with sample survey.
There are still sources of errors in statistics. A possible source of error is incorrect reporting by the respondent. In this case organizations either fill in an incorrect figure for the number of members or they are even unsure of about the number of members. Employers’ associations may report man-hours instead of persons employed and they may interpret the term “member establishment” differently. Another source of uncertainty is none response, which is very rare in this case.
There could also be a register error where some organisations do not have the correct industry classification code in the Central Register of Establishments and Enterprises (VoF), and for that reason they do not get counted.
A revision is a planned change to figures that have already been published, for example when releasing final figures as a follow-up to published preliminary figures. See also Statistics Norway’s principles for revisions.